The office, in Milan, will be headed up by packaging veteran and entrepreneur Stefano Rizzato in the role of general manager for tna Southern Europe. He will be responsible for coordinating sales, customer support and business development across the region.
'UK referendum will be ongoing topic'
Geographic expansion has always been a key strategy for the company, tna general manager for Europe Steve Burgess told BakeryandSnacks.
“If you’re a global player like us, it’s important to support your customers no matter where they are," he said. "While we have our European HQ in Birmingham, we’re keen to expand our network of local offices around Europe to offer better on-the-ground support to our customers.
“We already have our central Europe office in Germany, which opened two years ago, and now with our office in Italy we’re in a good place to support customers across the region with dedicated sales, technical support and service personnel.”
Burgess said the UK vote to leave the European Union would be an ongoing topic for the industry over the coming years, adding there was a lot of uncertainty over what will happen next.
“Things are changing quickly at the moment and it’s way too early to make any predictions as to how this will affect the food industry in the long run,” he said.
The economic situation across Southern Europe has improved over the past few years and the snack food market is growing as a result, Burgess stated, adding that healthy snacking and premium snacks have become key drivers and were opening up new opportunities for snack manufacturers.
“Although traditional snacks like crisps are still dominating in the region, there has been an increasing interest in healthier or more gourmet type products like vegetable crisps or nuts," he said. "It’s likely these type of products will continue to grow and snack manufacturers will need to adapt their production as a consequence to be able to cater to these demands.”
Snack manufacturer PATA
Burgess said most of tna's customers in the region are looking for integrated turnkey machines and that, as a result of recent acquisitions, it now has a wider portfolio including higher bagging speeds, improved frying performance or less rejects during product transfers.
“In Italy, we work closely with snack manufacturers like PATA, which produces potato chips, popcorn and extruded snacks, for example. They came to us because they knew we’d be able to deliver systems for their entire snack production line, including packaging, weighing, seasoning and distribution systems.”
Rizzato has more than 17 years of experience in the food manufacturing sector. He was formerly a business development manager for MF Packaging, Italy; sales manager, Bossar Group; and a founding member/CEO of Sabalpack.
“Stefano is a great addition to the team. Having set up his first business straight out of secondary school, Stefano’s pioneering spirit is the ideal fit for tna’s own culture,” added Burgess.
“He understands the importance of embracing innovative technologies and will be instrumental in our efforts to help customers across Southern Europe find new areas of growth and revenue through turnkey technology.”
The Southern Europe office follows the opening of an office in Mexico with demonstration facilities supporting tna’s business growth in processing, cooling and freezing, coating, distribution, seasoning, weighing, packaging and metal detection.